Head of Rochester firefighters union asks state comptroller to audit City after pay delay for police, fire department

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — When Eddie Santiago woke up Thursday, it was to messages from worried colleagues.

“I received about a dozen text messages from members that didn’t receive their pay,” the City firefighter said.

It turns out they weren’t alone. Direct deposit paychecks were held up for hours Thursday for members of the Rochester Police and Rochester Fire departments.

Union representatives for the Rochester Police Department and Rochester Fire Department went to City Hall Thursday morning to try to get answers.

“Members have mortgages that had come out on certain days, just a multitude of obligations and now we have this,” Santiago, the head of the firefighters’ union, said.

By afternoon, the pay had cleared. But the reason is still under investigation by the City of Rochester.

“I am very sorry this happened to our employees, but we will be following up with the financial institution to make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again,” Mayor Malik Evans said.

“It’s not the first thing I wanted to hear in the morning, that someone did not get their pay in a timely manner,” he added. “All of us who rely on paychecks, we expect to see our paychecks on the dates they’re going to be there so when that doesn’t happen, that causes distress for folks, obviously.”

Chase Bank is also investigating, a spokesperson tells News10NBC.

“Today, we posted payments to Chase accounts and we also sent the money to other banks who may take an extra day to post to their customers’ accounts. We’re sorry for the delay. We’re reviewing what happened and will work closely with the city to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” according to Chase.

A spokesperson for the City says its payroll files were properly submitted. Only uniformed employees were affected.

Meanwhile, Santiago says his members, as well as members of the police union, have had issues getting retroactive and retirement pay.

“It just eats at morale because we have so many other issues going on and it just is bad,” he said.

“This isn’t about finger pointing. I just want the system fixed. I want the problem corrected. I’m extremely frustrated with the multitude of payroll issues we’ve had in the last six, seven, eight months,” he added.

He’s calling on the Office of the New York State Comptroller to conduct a “comprehensive audit of the City of Rochester’s payroll practices and procedures.”